What to See and Do in Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok is Thailand’s economic center and offers a blend of both old and new.  It is an expression of Thai respect for tradition coupled with their vibrant involvement with modern progress.  The modern façade of the city is imposing, but its dynamic past holds its own amongst the skyscrapers that line the river, reaching further and further toward the heavens. Bangkok is a city electric with excitement, always in motion and pressing the visitor to take it all in. We invite you to do just that – explore imperial Bangkok and discover why the Thais call it the “City of Angels”.

Favorite Activities in Bangkok

thailandbangkokWat Arun178490046Bangkok City & Temples
Bangkok has approximately 400 Buddhist temples.  Wat Traimit (the Temple of the Golden Buddha), this temple is known for its famous Golden Buddha. Thought to have been constructed during the Sukhothai period and at three meters high and weighing five and a half tons, the Golden Buddha, officially titled Phra Phuttha Maha Suwan Patimakon, is the world’s largest solid gold statue.

Continue on to look around Wat Pho, built by King Rama I nearly 200 years ago and housing the gigantic Reclining Buddha or Phra Buddhasaiyas. This distinctive image is 150 ft long and almost 50ft high and entirely covered in gold leaf. The soles of the feet are intricately inlaid with 108 auspicious signs of the Buddha. Wat Pho is also regarded as the first center of public education and the birthplace of traditional Thai massage, and as such is sometimes referred to as “Thailand’s First University”.

Visit Wat Benchamabopit. This magnificent monastery was built with white Italian marble.

Go on to see The Emerald Buddha Temple (Wat Phra Kaeo). Bangkok’s most important and sacred wat. Built at the end of the 18th century by King Rama I, this splendid example of Thai aesthetics and religious architecture houses the Emerald Buddha, Thailand’s most venerated image. So small and distant that it can hardly be seen, the jade image symbolizes the independence, strength and good fortune of the country. The Interior walls are painted with superb frescoes, while murals between the window frames depict Jataka scenes from the life of Buddha.

Klong Cruise & Grand Palace 
The network of klongs (canals) highlights the traditional Thai way of life that once gave Bangkok the title of “The Venice of the East”, on the mighty Chao Phraya River (the River of the Kings).  Enjoy a morning boat ride along the Chao Phraya River. Stop at the Temple of Dawn, ‘Wat Arun,’ which is one of the city’s iconic landmarks and visit the Royal Palace to see Dusit Hall abd holy Wat Phra Kaew to gaze at the Jade Budha.  The Grand Palace is one of the most beautiful examples of an ancient Siamese court, which incorporates several palaces and halls used for different occasions. Bangkok’s former royal palace is an intriguing blend of Italian Renaissance architecture and classical Thai roofing. It was begun in 1782 by King Rama I and improved upon by subsequent rulers. See the Throne Hall, the Coronation Hall, the Reception Palace and the Funeral Palace.

thailandbangkokDamnoen Saduak Floating Market55845233Damnern Saduak Floating Markets 
The River and ‘klong’ markets give a realistic glance of how daily life must have been in earlier times. The floating markets are where the sellers, their boats laden with a wide variety of tropical fruits, flowers and vegetables, come to barter their products.  Visit the Bangkok Flower Market or Pak Klong Talad as it is known locally. This market is Bangkok’s answer to London’s Covent Garden, a lively, colorful place presenting an excellent opportunity for seeing the rich variety of Thailand’s fresh produce. You can wander through the many stalls to see orchids of every color and variety available by the thousands.

Chatuchak Weekend Market 
Since 1982, Chatuchak market has been the most popular of markets in Bangkok. This famous weekend shopping haven is the biggest, best stocked and probably the most frequented of markets with the best bargains to be found anywhere in the city.

Thai Dinner and Dances at Sala Rim Nan 
The Thai dinner and dance shows are a visual and palatable delight which occur at Sala Rim Nam, a richly decorated Thai pavilion on the river. Originating from Northern Thailand, the restaurant is also the setting for one of the kingdom’s cultural experiences – classical Thai dancing.

Thailand tours start at just a little over $100 per day including a tour guide, transportation, first class hotels, some sightseeing and meals.

 

Earth Day and Sustainable Travel

earth dayEarth Day is a celebration of the earth and a reminder of the importance of taking care of her and is celebrated  this year on April 22, 2014. Many cities have celebrations and events to mark this special day. However, it’s important that earth conscious practices are carried out throughout the year and not just on a specified holiday. A few of our vendors are promoting green initiatives year round.

Tauck’s National Park Volunteer Programs
For over ten years Tauck has been offering its travelers the opportunity to volunteer at some of the United States’ national parks. This program is called the Cowboy Country Family Adventures. Participants can spend around two and a half hours at Grand Teton National Park doing various projects. In the past, this program was held at Yellowstone National Park, but was moved because many of Tauck’s guest were able to complete more than 30,000 volunteer hours and finish the majority the projects that need to be done. This program is a great way to spend some time in a National Park and give back as well. Because of the work that volunteers have completed by participating in the Cowboy Country Family Adventure, Tauck has received many awards from places like the U.S. Travel Association and the Whitehouse.

Collette Vacations Volunteer Program
Collette offers more than just vacations. It offers participants the chance to volunteer and make an impact on the world. These participants include not only travelers, but their employees as well. Collette strives to make the lives of children better in various locations. Currently they need volunteers in North America, Kenya and China to complete several different projects.

G Adventures Sustainable Travel
G Adventures believes that sustainable travel is necessary in order for all the beautiful destinations they visit to remain that way. They strive to include small businesses that are located in the many developing countries that they visit. This helps their economy and enables tourism dollars to stay in the area that is traveled too. G Adventures cares about contributing to local economies by providing employment possibilities to those areas that are often undeserved and need tourism to have a positive impact on their community.

Going Green
A few cities are “Going Green” when it comes to their ports. Halifax, Montreal and Quebec are spending more than $24 million dollars so that cruise ships that come into their ports can plug into the city’s electrical grid rather than using diesel fuel while in port. This will dramatically decrease greenhouse gas emissions that are harmful for the environment. The city of Vancouver is already using grid-based shore power.

Being An Environmentally Conscious Travel
Even when traveling, you can do some things to benefit the environment and earth including:

  • Eating local to support the area’s economy
  • Only have your bed linens in your hotel room or cruise ship cabin changed when soiled as opposed to every day
  • Pack and use water bottles instead of using disposable bottles of water
  • Use public transportation, walk or rent a bike rather than getting a rental car
  • Turn off lights and TV’s when leaving your room or cabin
 

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